Is your corporate event truly “not to be missed”? Does it have a strong message at its centre, or is it just another blip on an attendee’s busy calendar? You could have the most innovative technology, thoughtful layout, and stunning venue, but at the end of the day, what is your event really about? The presence of an impactful message could help bring an event together and stoke attendee interest. The idea behind a corporate gathering is its guiding principle and can help with every step from planning through execution.
Perhaps the simplest argument in favor of developing an impactful central message involves thinking about how you would feel about an event without such a backbone, either as an organizer or an attendee. How would a marketer convince people to pay for tickets and airfare to a vaguely defined convention? How could a potential guest speaker sell his or her attendance to the managers who will have to sign off on the travel?
Stand out in a busy world
Today’s event industry is saturated with events across sectors, and an impactful message can rise above the din. While having a central theme to organize the content of a conference around and guide marketing is certainly a positive factor, the value of a central event theme can make its presence felt long before that.
Skift explained that the meeting and conference industry is booming today. More companies are hosting events, and prices for related services such as venue rentals are going up. Companies, however, may fail to increase their event budgets in line with these increases.
When a conference appears to be just a matter of logistics, a simple blip on a corporate calendar, it can be hard for planners to get the funds they need to host a successful gathering. If you’ve encountered this level of resistance from higher-ups, it may be because there isn’t a strong central idea guiding your plans.
Christy Lamagna, founder of Strategic Meetings and Events, told Skift that meeting professionals need to state the strategic value of their conferences. When a meeting is a strategic investment on behalf of a company, it’s much easier to justify giving that event the budget it needs and deserves.
Objectives in focus
Engaging with attendees and getting them focused on a central syllabus has become a defining trend in recent years, according to respondents to American Express’s industry survey with projections for 2018. Meetings, conferences and other gatherings are becoming more focused on spreading their central messages, and that may mean booking venues for shorter spans of time and keeping programs more focused.
If conferences are being cut down to their central points, that means those events have to have strong pillars to support their relevance. Creating a meaningful and positive experience for your attendees is how you’ll get them back for the next conference, and if you have a shorter, more focused program to work with, the strength, relevance and impact of that message becomes more important than ever.
What will the takeaway be when guests head home from the conference? When there’s a strong central message informing everything from presentation topics to design decisions, it’s easier to control this variable than in a wide-ranging or disorganized event. Follow-up marketing and attempts to create a continuing connection with attendees can excel more when an event stayed on topic.
Technology creates a connection
As technology tools have become more central to successful event hosting in recent years, they have found their way into the planning process. When you embrace event technology integration and have a strong message to convey, it’s possible to create an efficient way to reinforce the core concepts and send attendees home with the right takeaways.
Trade Show News Network contributor Rebecca May explained that while some organizers see technology as a distancing factor, something that may distract attendees from the central message of an event, it’s actually a great way to personalize the experience and bring the key concepts down to a manageable level.
May stated that the right technology for a given event will involve systems that reflect the company’s story and branding. The goals of the event, the central idea, comes across clearly when attendees have access to products they like to interact with. May added that sometimes the best way to forge a bond with guests is to go straight to advanced and cutting-edge solutions. Holograms, virtual reality and more can give users strong memories of an event.
What’s it all about?
Events that have a strong, memorable idea at their heart are easier to plan, as organizers can make decisions based on whether they suit the theme. These conferences also stand a better chance of catching the attention of attendees who are inundated with conference options today. After the events, those guests will take a strong impression home with them. For all these reasons, it’s important to pick a message early on and stick with it.